CURIOSITY ALREADY DOESN’T LIKE WHAT IT’S SMELLING IN MARTIAN AIR
September 8 2012
Pasadena, CA – It’s amazing the really think about the work the Mars rover Curiosity is doing right now. Like literally, right now, the rover is driving across the surface of Mars. It’s humming along taking samples and just doing the kind of things a rover does but on Mars, another planet entirely.
There is no doubt that the work Curiosity is doing right now will be important. While few expect that it will find life there is a hope, however faint, that it will find some tangible evidence that life once existed on Mars sometime in its past. Ultimately though, even if Curiosity finds no such evidence, it will still have to be declared a scientific victory.
The core mission of the rover is in the end trying to determine the make-up of the Red planet and how that relates to our own planet. Figuring out the chemistry and construction of Mars will give us a strong basis for understanding how all planets are created and how the Universe itself works. Thus far, Curiosity has done that job ably but now that it has started to take new readings of the air quality on Mars, well, let’s just says it’s not a fan of what it’s smelling, not one bit.
“When Sam is at its best it can measure various parts per trillion of methane, and the expected amounts based on measurements taken from orbit around Mars and from Earth telescopes should be in the 10 to a few 10s of parts per billion,” said Joy Crisp of the rover team. “But it's so early in the use of Sam, which is a complicated instrument, and we have to sort through the data.”
It’s believed that Curiosity found mostly carbon dioxide as expected and also some strange and slightly foul smells.
Because Curiosity is the only rover on Mars right now, well, there are few options in respect to where that might have come from.
“I would say that no matter what Curiosity does or does not find on Mars it has already been a huge success. Hopefully it finds life, or at least evidence of it. Not the big giant laser-toting life that we all fear of course but simply organisms, little things, that would be nice. Prove life exists in space and not kill us, win-win,” said Scrape TV Science analyst Dr. Howard Poe. “No one wants to die, like this guy died, die die, die-die, die die, die-die, worms eating your eyes. Bass solo.”
Worms are not believed to exist on Mars and Curiosity has no eyes to speak of.
“If the rover is smelling something foul it really has no one, nothing, to blame but itself. I mean it’s up there on this barren planet all by its lonesome so if something funky appears,well, that’s all rover baby, all rover and it can’t really complain about that,” continued Poe. “Beyond that though it’s great that the rover is working fine and making things happen up there. So many things could have gone wrong in the transit and none of it did and that ain’t bad at all. Ain’t bad at all. Thanks Curiosity and stop complaining about the smell you silly rover.”
Curiosity is also complaining about not getting enough breaks but since it’s a robot has no rights at all.
Anna Phillips, Science Correspondent